Jessica Jones: The Octopus


Jessica keeps making new friends

After the very messy (on several levels) end of last episode, Jessica Jones “AKA The Octopus” starts off with Jessica pacing in a holding cell. She muses about a lousy frame job and finds some points in common with the killer. As she takes out some of her frustration, the killer destroys a lot of evidence about her crime. I guess if you’re going to beat people to death, a fire pit is a useful item to add to your yard.

Jeri and Jessica are in an interview room debating Jessica’s behavior. Jessica is quoting some of the stuff from her anger management class, so I guess she was paying some attention after all. They argue over what Jessica should be telling the police, and Jessica makes a strange analogy that’s been on most of the previews for the season. They argue and Jeri loses her patience and leaves after telling Jessica she’s alienating everyone around her.

Trish is having a rough morning after, getting her hair held back by her mother as she deals with some side effects. They argue about rehab and Trish is shocked when she finds out how long she’s been out cold. Trish and Mother Dorothy argue about Trish’s career, Jessica, Trish’s choices, and then Dorothy surprises her with word about an important meeting.

Jessica uses a prison payphone to check in with Malcolm and is surprisingly calm. Even Malcolm is startled, and she says she’s trying something new. Of course, she’s also the subject of some fierce precautions by the police after damaging her cell earlier. They have a good talk and Jessica gives Malcolm some instructions about what to follow up with Inez, the woman she and Trish found last time before everything went to hell. She’s very nice to Malcolm and then very snarky to the cops guarding her.

We get a few “day in the life” scenes about the killer. The show hasn’t named her yet, and using IMDB for this seems a bit like cheating, so I’m going to just keep calling her that. We see a few of her hobbies and interests. A neighbor drops by for an awkward exchange that gets a lot worse as the killer’s control slips. The neighbor was really lucky.

Jeri and Jessica end up back in the interview room where Jeri cautions her client to share what she knows. In come Detectives Sunday and Costa, who were looking into Whizzer’s death. Jessica gives them what she has on the mystery woman and a good bit about IGH. Costa seems willing to listen, and Sunday seems determined not to.

Malcolm does a decent job interviewing Inez. He has a very different style from Jessica’s, but it works for him. I think he has a lot of potential in this line of work. Jeri and Jessica await the Detectives, who finally come back and show their different attitudes very sharply. We also find out why Costa is being nice to Jessica, and it makes a lot of sense. Jeri is dealing with some side effects from her medications.

As Jessica and Jeri leave, Jessica asks for help safeguarding Inez. As they discuss this, they are accosted on the street by Pryce Chang. I get that he’s grieving the loss of his friend, but he’s being a dick. Jessica argues with him but is surprisingly civil and calm, for her anyway. She tells him off, gets in some great lines, and leaves with Jeri. I suspect Pryce is going to cross the line from jerk to active villain in the near future.

Jessica finally makes it home, where Malcolm has been making a few improvements. He also did a great job with her assignments, and I think she’s impressed despite herself. Malcolm brings her up to date on what he’s found and gives Jessica a new lead to run down. Jessica talks with Inez and sends Malcolm to look out for her. That doesn’t go well, but Malcolm handles it just fine. He’s a nice guy, but he isn’t only a nice guy.

Jessica pays a visit to Oscar, and it’s nice to see they’re still on good terms. Jessica asks a big favor, but he acknowledges he owes her. As she’s leaving, she gets a mysterious call from Griffin that Trish needs her, and she takes off.

Dorothy brings Trish to a rooftop where we find out she lied about the meeting. The whole thing is a setup, but not of the usual criminal kind you’d expect on this show. It is, however, kind of an ambush, and Griffin pulls a big surprise just after Jessica gets there. We do learn what Griffin’s sketchy behavior was about, and it’s actually kind of sweet, if rushed. Things don’t quite go to plan, but it absolutely not Jessica’s fault this time around. She actually did everything right.

Jessica goes to Oscar, greeted as before by his son as “Super Lady.” It’s an entertaining little domestic scene with some of Oscar’s family. Vido is quite taken with Jessica, and not so subtly playing matchmaker. We also get a few hints at a softer side of Jessica here, which was interesting to see. Malcolm meets Jeri as he drops off Inez, and the interplay between Malcolm and Jeri is entertaining. Inez is still really pissed off at Malcolm, but then, she seems to be pissed off at the world in general.

The killer shows us that burning things is more of a habit than I first thought. Cleaning mistakes by fire, I guess. Inez has a conversation with Jeri about what Jeri really wants and why she’s being nice. I can’t believe that both Jessica and I missed what Jeri’s after. In hindsight, it’s so glaringly obvious.

Jessica, with a lot of help from Oscar, gets in to see her next lead. She plays this one pretty well, and gets bits and pieces of information from another poor victim of this whole conspiracy. There are some interesting random facts, some leads on IGH, and the reason for the episode’s title. This is also where I put together who she’s looking for, and it’s a minor villain from the comics. They chose him well, since his usual MO is doing experiments on people to give them powers, usually of the super-strength variety. That was a good deep dive on the writers’ parts.

Trish tries to collect her thoughts and gets into another nasty argument with her mother. That woman is just toxic. Trish is provoked into doing something she immediately regrets, and Dorothy storms out. Trish, shaken up, shows she’s slipping up, although I don’t get where she got this new vice from. Loot from Simpson maybe?

Jessica keeps her word and tells Detective Costa what she’s learned so far. She then goes on a stakeout where the last person led her. It takes a while, but she finally finds her new suspect, Dr. Karl Malus (who sounds confusingly like the big bad on the most recent season of Legends of Tomorrow) and the killer. Malus spots Jessica and the killer does something ugly to let them get away. It’s a supervillain 101 move, but it’s a classic because it works, and leaves Jessica in a nasty cliffhanger for the end of the episode.

What I liked: Jessica is changing. It’s slow and it’s clearly hard for her, but she’s adapting, and that makes her a more interesting character, at least to me. Her handling Pryce, for example, was well done. I like seeing Malcolm get to do more, and he’s pretty damn good at it. I liked the scene with Oscar and his family, and Jessica’s reaction to it. I’m glad Griffin isn’t what I was starting to think he was. Picking Malus as the bad guy for this makes a lot of sense and is a perfect use of a minor character.

What I didn’t: Yes, it’s supported by her background, but I don’t like where Trish is going. As I said above, I’m not sure where she picked up this new vice. Inez is just an ugly person, so far second only to Dorothy Walker.

I’m still really enjoying this noir take on the super hero. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5, largely for character growth and development.